jacob detering is making records

Icon... The endless quest to make a record that I enjoy listening to ...

Results, The Bi-Product of Behavior

If you're paying attention out there, talk of utilizing social media metrics to measure the size and engagement of your fan base is nothing new. Topspin, Next Big Sound, Rockdex and others are now offering pretty cool aggregation and analytic tools - which in my mind are key to understanding and moving towards your market. All that being said, even the best data is worthless if not extrapolated into actionable items/behaviors aimed towards improving your business. Coming from the business world, root cause analysis, action planning and repeatable routine are a familiar ethos for me. But in talking to artists, it's evident that there's a lot of confusion and frustration around what all this information means and how it's a value add.

Information which should be empowering is instead, overwhelming.

Results - either good or bad - are the bi-product of behavior(s). That being said, my first step in action planning always involves a fact finding mission. Out of the gate, capture as much data about your business as possible. Below is a great little eye chart penned (literally) by music business guru and friend George Howard. Here, George suggests taking a baseline of current performance across all areas of your business: Twitter Followers, Facebook Friends, Myspace plays, email addresses gathered at shows, email addresses gathered online, average net take from shows, etc. With this data in hand, draw a spaghetti diagram of all the behaviors connected to each result. What does getting people to sign your email list at shows look like? What actionable steps are you taking to add Twitter followers (spam-bots don't count!) Remember, include as much detail as possible, here. Key is understanding the whole process involved in arriving at any given result.

From here, some opportunities may become very obvious. One example would be: I don't get any email addresses at shows because I don't bring a list with me. Others, may be more elusive and difficult to understand. Using the email list as an example, begin to change behaviors around email collection at shows one behavior at a time. For example, for two weeks bring a list to every single performance. At the end of two weeks, measure your data, document your progress and re-evaluate.

Go figure! The simple act of bringing a list meant you captured 23 email addresses over two weeks! Next, dive back into the behaviors: Do you mention the email list during the performance? Do you have someone soliciting emails? Do you offer free media for an email address? Change those things, one by one, measuring after each trial. Absorb what works, toss what doesn't. And of course, iterate.

My suggestion would be to dissect every aspect of your career using this process. The great thing about working this way is that it focuses on facets of your career you CAN control. Instead of being pissed that you don't have a label deal, there aren't 400 people at each show and that a limo isn't driving you to said show, you work on incrementally changing each aspect of your business one thing at a time. The theory of small wins - you can see your progress, even if small and this, makes the effort worthwhile.